The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has called for the participation of more women in the country’s elective positions. This call was made by Hajia Amina Zakari during a workshop on Wednesday in Kano.
Zakari, who is the National Commissioner representing North West zone, lamented the poor participation of Nigerian women, adding that despite the global statistics on gender parity which placed the country at 152 out of 188 countries, Nigeria women still suffer gender inequality.
She also stated at the workshop themed, “Enhancing Women’s Participation in the Continuous Voter Registration and Collection of Permanent Voter cards, that even though women constitute a good percentage of Nigeria’s voting population, they only occupy a minimal 5.8 percent of the political offices in the country.
She said, “I don’t know the miracle we need to perform but a lot still need to be done by stakeholders to ensure that the situation improves before 2019 general elections and one of the strategies include ensuring women register and collect their permanent voter’s cards to vote for their preferred candidates.”
“Since the CVR commenced on April 27, 2017, over 4 million Nigerians have so far registered across the country. The gender distributions of the fresh registrants, according to the commission’s CVR reports for first quarter 2018, was 1,362,293 for women and 1,560,823 men. Only very slight increase in women registration was recorded since the commenced of the exercise.”
“That is the essence of the workshop, organized by INEC, in collaboration with the European Union to work with variety of partners and stakeholders, including the political parties, the media and civil society organizations to implement elections related activities, in which CSO’s are important instrument for election process to ensure more women register and pick up their PVC’s”.
In the same vein, the project director, European Center for Electoral Support (ECES) Mr David Le Notre, represented by the Gender Program officer Mrs. Cathy Latiwa Amato also decried the low number of women in the country’s elective positions which stood at 5.9 percent, unlike other African countries like Rwanda with 61.3 percent, Uganda 34.6 percent, South Africa 43.2 percent, Ethiopian 27.7 percent and Cameroon 20.1 percent, according to 2017United Nations reports.
Amato stated that, “the current CVR provides women with the opportunity to participate actively in the political process not only by ensuring that more women are registered but also translating this numerical strength into electing more women into elective positions”.
She, thereafter, assured the agency of the ECES commitment towards promoting improved participation of women in political process, through a bridge training to enhance the capacity building of INEC gender desk officers from the 36 states.
She also disclosed plans to hold a round-table discussion on voter education and mobilization with gender focus CSO’s, to enhance increased women participation across the six geopolitical zones ahead of the 2019 elections.